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Saturday, January 31, 2015

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As I have prosaically maintained for years, enchantment is an essential ingredient of love, whether romantic or just sleazy attraction. This was why there was so little racy behavior in my coed Harvard House, because it's difficult to lust after or even sigh over the person one sees in sweats and slippers, /slurping coffee at 2am to get a paper done, and 6 the next day for a final exam cramming study group. as Eliot wrote "humankind cannot bear very much reality". Hence fantasy, hence the allure of faraway bimbos (tho "our" men usually ended up marrying Cliffies in the end, after an integral of time during which each could again become mysterious, unpredictable and therefore alluring.

But enchantment matters in faith. The besetting sin of vulgar, sports-metaphored macho Protestantant evangicalis. Is precisely it's tone deafness to the music of mystery. God is veiled, unclear, with us in ways we can feel but can't comprehend. Power transcendent, glimpsed, felt, then lost to us. We bleat and search like lost sheep. To limit God to the rational is heretical. To presume that the life of faith is one of making the right human decision or not is to cast God in our own limited, known mold.

The appeal of a Gothic cathedral is that it enchants us. Casts a divine spell on s. We walk in sweaty and footsore and smelling of garlic. By the grace of God, we look up towards Heaven. light is broken up into color. clouds of incense that choke us float up like imperfect prayers to a God who loves us coughing ....it's cool and quiet and even clattering horses can't shake the sense that this is an enchanted space.

Who would want to live in a world without enchantment?


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